Eco-friendly shoe companies

Footprints in the environment


Reebok’s eco-friendly shoe derived from organic cotton and corn called the NPC UK Cotton + Corn. Photo Courtesy of Engadget via Creative Commons.

Sadé Smith, Author

When purchasing a shoe, most people buy it for the brand name or how it feels rather than the materials that make up the shoe. With the movement to have a cleaner and more economic-friendly environment, shoe companies are creating shoes that are biodegradable. It began with smaller companies, but now more well-known shoe brands including Nike, Adidas, and Reebok have joined the trend. If bigger brands such as the ones that were previously stated continue to sell shoes that are helpful to the environment, it would greatly benefit the conditions of local landfills.

The majority of shoes are made out of rubber, leather, or other synthetic materials. The shoe industry has a big impact on the contribution to pollution. According to the U.S.A. Gain Blogs, “It’s estimated that 20 billion pairs of shoes are produced annually, and unfortunately, roughly 300 million pairs are thrown away each year, too.” The number of shoes that are thrown out is very high and can be avoided if more shoes were biodegradable. With the process of creating recyclable shoes, it will decrease the amount of pollution that comes from landfills.

Shoe brands such as Nike and Adidas are some of the numerous companies that have created sneakers that are made from recyclable products. However, Reebok became the first company to release a sneaker that is made out of organic cotton and corn. The entire shoe is biodegradable, which has a very positive impact on our environment. Mrs. Carney, an Environmental Science teacher, talks about the benefits of biodegradable and eco-friendly shoes she states, “There’s a market for recyclable plastics, but if there is no market for these products we would not be able to recycle anymore. The shoes that are more biodegradable will save space in landfills because they will degrade faster.” The shoes in landfills usually end up contaminating the soil or the drinking water of a community. This has an impact on humans and wildlife in the surrounding area.

Nike took recycling to the next step when they started a movement called Nike Grind where a variety of athletic products are developed from recycled footwear. Their products range from apparel to performance surfaces. Nike has supplied its Grind products since 1992 and has installed over 10,000 surfaces worldwide. Nike Grind’s website states, “What we run, jump and fall on impacts everything. Surfaces made with Nike Grind are engineered with athletes in mind.” This organization has grown tremendously and has impacted many athletes. Every shoe made creates a footprint in the environment and it is important to ensure that it positively impacts the daily lives of people across the globe.